Zisco prospective investors await Cabinet nod

Source: Zisco prospective investors await Cabinet nod | The Herald

Zisco prospective investors await Cabinet nodAt its peak, Zisco produced up to one million tonnes of steel annually and the entity was among Zimbabwe’s major foreign currency earners

Michael Magoronga

Midlands Correspondent

DEFUNCT steel-manufacturing giant, Zisco, has completed the adjudication process for potential investors expected to spearhead the revival of the Redcliff-based firm.

Names of the prospective investors have since been submitted to Cabinet for approval.

In an interview, Zisco group chief executive officer Dr Farai Karonga dismissed reports suggesting a decision had already been made on the investor expected to take over the company.

“We have noted with concern some reports doing rounds on some social media platforms that we have already nominated a company to take over at Zisco. Such information is misleading and should be disregarded.

“The reality is that we have concluded the adjudication process and forwarded the names to the Government and we await Cabinet approval,” said Dr Karonga.

Reports suggested Kuvimba Mining House, a joint venture between the Government and a consortium of foreign investors, was poised to acquire the mothballed company.

Its expansive asset base includes Shamva Gold, Freda Rebecca Gold and  Jena Mines, a stake in the Darwendale Platinum project trading as Great Dyke Investments, Bindura Nickel Corporation and Zimbabwe Alloys Limited among others.

“There is nothing official yet, we await the Government’s decision. Yes, we have done our part and it is not our duty to be announcing who won the tender before we get a directive from the Government,” said Dr Karonga.

The adjudication process for prospective investors began late last year after the Government in April had announced that it was in a fresh hunt for a strategic partner to resuscitate Zisco.

In their expression of interest, bidders for the Zisco revival deal were among others, required to submit information on their financial performance and position, attaching a three-year audited financial statement, ownership structure, names of directors as well as information pertaining their position on the need to evaluate Zisco before the investment.

Seven bids from potential investors from which one would be selected were received.

In recent years, Zisco has been a subject of foreign investor interest with companies such as Essar Africa Holdings, a unit of India’s Essar Group having acceded to investing US$750 million into the Redcliff-based steel producer in 2011, during the era of the inclusive Government.

However, the deal hit a brick wall in 2015.

Again, in late 2019 discussions for a US$1 billion resuscitation deal between Zisco and R&F of China, which had shown much interest to revive operations at the local firm collapsed.

Zisco ceased operations in 2008 due to poor management and lack of capital to recapitalise.

At its peak in 1999, Zisco produced up to one million tonnes of steel annually and the entity was among Zimbabwe’s major foreign currency earners.

It is hoped that the resuscitation of Zisco, a strategic company to Zimbabwe’s economy, would be a step in the right direction under the country’s development agenda.

Following decades of economic collapse, the Second Republic, which came into power in November 2017 led by President Mnangagwa has vowed to rebuild the economy starting with the successful two-year Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) implemented between October 2018 and December 2020.

Riding on the macro-economic stability brought by the TSP, the country has now moved from economic recovery to stimulating productivity under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

NDS 1, which builds to Zimbabwe’s envisaged upper middle-income economy status by 2030 is a five-year macro-economic policy running between 2021 and 2025 anchored on increasing production across all sectors of the economy, employment creation, and uplifting the living standards of citizens, among other fundamentals.